Archaeology breakthrough: ‘Impossible discovery of world’s oldest shipwreck’ exposed

The researchers discovered what they believed to be the world’s oldest intact shipwreck at the bottom of the Black Sea where it appeared to have lain undisturbed for more than 2,400 years. The vessel was 23 metres in length and was likely from ancient Greece. In the mast of the ship, researchers found rudders and rowing benches all present just over a mile below the surface. What enabled the ship to remain in such good condition was the lack of oxygen so deep in the sea, the researchers claimed at the time.

The ship was found in October 2018 by Professor Jon Adams – the principle investigator – and the rest of his team at the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project

Professor Adams said after the find: “A ship surviving intact from the classical world, lying in over 2km of water, is something I would never have believed possible.

“This will change our understanding of shipbuilding and seafaring in the ancient world.”

The ship is believed to have been a type of trading vessel that researchers say has only previously been seen “on the side of ancient Greek pottery such as the ‘Siren Vase’ in the British Museum”.

That work, which dates from about the same period, depicts a similar vessel bearing Odysseus past the sirens, with the Homeric hero lashed to the mast to resist their songs.

According to reports, the team said they wanted to leave the vessel where it was discovered.

However, the team did get one small piece of the ship carbon dated by the University of Southampton, whose results suggest the ship is in fact the oldest they’s seen

The researchers added the results “confirmed [it] as the oldest intact shipwreck known to mankind”.

It was among more than 60 shipwrecks found by the international team of maritime archaeologists, scientists and marine surveyors, which had been on a three-year mission to explore the depths of the Black Sea to gain a greater understanding of the impact of prehistoric sea-level changes.

They said the finds varied in age from a “17th-century Cossack raiding fleet, through Roman trading vessels, complete with amphorae, to a complete ship from the classical period”.

The documentary team made a two-hour film that was shown at the British Museum.

A similar find was made in 2016, when archaeologists found La Trinite – a French ship – in Florida.

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Archaeologist, Chuck Meide, lauded the discovery as he noted the ship’s key role in the origin story of Florida, as it carried gold, silver and other goods to the region during France’s period of colonial ambition.

Mr Meide said: “In the world of ships and treasures, there’s really no better story than La Trinite.”

Historian from Florida, John de Bry, also claimed that the find was of significant importance having been given a sneak preview of the footage by the GME.

He said: “I thought, my God, this is the most important shipwreck ever found in North America.”

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